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Russia: Security Chief Says Missile Downed Airliner

Moscow, 12 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian investigating team said today a missile was responsible for bringing down a Russian airliner in the Black Sea on 4 October. The Tu-154, en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, went down after an explosion. All 78 people on board, most of them Russian emigrants to Israel, were killed. Evidence has mounted that the plane was accidentally hit by a missile fired by Ukrainian warships participating in military exercises in the area at the time.

Russian Security Council chief Vladimir Rushailo, who heads the commission, told reporters in Sochi that the plane had indeed been hit by a missile.

Yevhen Marchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Security Council who is a member of the commission, said the reason for the crash could be an "unintentional hit by an S-200 missile" during Ukrainian air-defense exercises.

Marchuk said the investigators would make their final conclusions after further, complex research.